Saturday, April 03, 2004

:: note :: last night . . . Mad Forest . . . a stellar example of theater at the end of the 20th Century . . . the pinnacle of "total theater" espoused by Craig at the end of the 19th Century . . .
"In The Art of the Theatre, Craig makes this provocative statement:
"When he (the stage-director) interprets the plays of the dramatist by means of his actors, his scene-painters, and his other craftsmen, then he is a craftsman - a master craftsman; when he will have mastered the use of actions, words, line, colour, and rhythm, then he may become an artist. Then we shall no longer need the assistance of the playwright - for our art will then be self-reliant. (148)"(Perspicacity: Edward Gordon Craig & the Modern Theatre of Devising)

. . . yet a playwrite there was and a gifted craftswomen/group at that . . .
". . . Caryl Churchill, the director and a group of student actors from London's Central School went to Romania to work with acting students there and find out more about the events surrounding the fall of Ceausescu. What finally emerged from this process was a play that revealed the dreadful damage done to people's lives by years of repression and the painful difficulties of lasting change."(Caryl Churchill)

. . . last night saw theater rich in texture, light, sound, set, props and action . . . a rich weaving together of a total imagist experience . . . carefully and exquisitely balanced with a Brechtian notation (this is the theater at the end of the 20th Century paying homage to the great directors of the past in its eclectic stylings) . . .

all were servants to the image . . . the image as narrative/metaphor/symbol/memory . . . it was a wonderfully produced piece of work . . . art to consume . . .

albeit there was a designed hierarchy . . . first the placement of the image was directed at a specific sightline . . . no co-incidence that the most important (powerful) audience sat in the "best" seat . . . 20th century theater is dominated by the theater consumer . . .

second there was a hierarchy of knowledge . . . the more pre-knowlege of the historical/socio-economical/cultural story . . . the richer the experience . . . Knowledge is Power . . . it is a post modern language . . .
"Churchill's theatre is not just a question of politics, but a politics of style"(Elaine Aston. Caryl Churchill)
scenes are presented . . . attention is directed to the epic dramaturgy . . . a broken egg & the futility of putting it back together . . . no matter how long and great the effort . . . no matter how much is saved . . . this image points to the end . . . where a wedding celebration has degenerated into a brawl . . . the dance continues into . . . well into the darkest chaos . . .

there is a dark satirical scene between a dog and a vampire . . . illusions/delusions and hints of political satire under extreme regimes . . . the reenactment of the Ceausescus execution . . . the dream . . . the juxtaposition of clear monologues and silence in a constant evocative soundscape . . . the cast function as a precise ensemble meticulously trained . . .

. . .in all these riches let us not forget that theater is communion . . .